St. Louis Cardinals Grapevine: Duncan and Trade Targets

Joel KochSenior Analyst IOctober 3, 2008

Well, it's the offseason for the St. Louis Cardinals. We're not really use to this, since this is the first time since 1997-99 that we missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. Oh well, we have to move on. We can at least enjoy the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers getting whooped, am I right?

Anyway, let me jump off the board and throw this at you: the Cardinals signed Dave Duncan today (10/3) to a one year contract, with a club option for 2010. Good news. You can read all about it here.

The main point of this story is bring you a list. This isn't any ordinary list, it's the list of potential trade targets for the Cardinals. Many rumors have swirled, but I've tracked them down and turned it into a list of most likely to least likely (with percentage chances of acquiring the player).

The list will start with the most likely to be acquired and will end with the least likely. Short descriptions will follow, along with a percentage chance of landing the player.


1. Brian Roberts 2B, Baltimore Orioles

The Cardinals have always coveted the switch hitting, leadoff man. With the Orioles rebuilding, a Roberts trade is even more likely this year, especially since he's a free agent at the end of the season. Landing Roberts would be the best idea. He's cheaper than any other possibility (owed $8 million for 2009) and could sign a two year extension as the Cardinals try to develop their own second baseman (which they lack in their improved system). Chances: 95%


2. Kevin Gregg RHP, Florida Marlins

The Cardinals aren't sure they want to use Chris Perez as the closer in 2009. They have talked about trading for a closer or signing a closer that could walk after 2009. Gregg fills that need, well, sort of. Gregg only has four years under his service clock, so he's a free agent after 2010. Still, not that bad of an idea. A closer that can hold the role for two seasons, letting Perez get more adjusted to the Majors. Chances: 85%


3. Robinson Cano 2B, New York Yankees

This is a name that you will see a lot. Cano is the Yankees' biggest trading chip and is coveted, despite his short attention span. Leaving New York could do him wonders, as he's continually dogged (like every other athlete) in the Big Apple. It also wouldn't take much to land Cano, as the Yankees want a left handed hitting outfielder with the ability to play center (I'll let you guess who). Chances: 70%


4. Jake Peavy RHP, San Diego Padres

Don't dismiss him. There has been a lot of talk of late about adding Peavy, and I really don't think it'll be a bad idea. Don't pay attention to his record (10-11 in 2008) as he had little to no run support. His road earned run average (ERA) is cause for concern, but not as much as others think. It was unusually high in 2008 (4.28), but his career road ERA is 3.80. Moving from one pitchers park to another still makes him deadly. Let's not forget, he was the 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner and would create the best one-two punch with Adam Wainwright. Chances: 60%


5. Matt Holliday OF, Colorado Rockies

As the Cardinals continue retooling their roster and shaping their "battle plan" for this offseason, it seems more and more likely that Holliday won't be coming to the Arch. With pitching higher up on the needs list, Holliday's bad home/road splits, and more trades happening rather than signings, Holliday seems out of range. An increase in payroll could change that, but for now, unlikely. Chances: 50%


6. Dan Uggla 2B, Florida Marlins

Duncan's philosophy is pitch to contact. That means having a strong defense, especially up the middle. Uggla's bat would be a big boost, but his strikeout rate is too high and his defense is shaky. Don't discount him from coming our way, but don't count on it either. Chances: 45%


7. Khalil Greene SS, San Diego Padres

OK, I figure Greene's chances of coming to St. Louis as ((Peavy + Uggla)/2) - (1/2 x 25). You'll see the total in a minute, so don't go wondering what it is. Greene will only come to the Cardinals in a deal involving Peavy, and is as likely to come on his own as much as Uggla. He's a high strikeout guy, and has average defense...when's healthy. Let's not forget that he's J.D. Drew's brother when it comes to disabled list time. His bat would be welcomed, but his defense would be frowned upon.

I also see him as a one in eight chance of coming to St. Louis. Uggla, Rafael Furcal, Orlando Hudson, Roberts, Edgar Renteria, Orlando Cabrera, and Cano are with Greene in that possible middle infield pool. That's where the back end of that equation comes from. Chances: 40%


8. Daniel Cabrera RHP, Baltimore Orioles

Cabrera has talent, but he's unlikely to come to St. Louis. Duncan could work wonders with Cabrera, but he's a health concern, as well as cancer in the clubhouse concern. The only way he comes to St. Louis would be with Roberts, and that too is unlikely. Chances: 25%


9. Hanley Ramirez SS, Florida Marlins

Hey, it would be great to think about, but it's not happening. Ramirez is signed long term to an affordable contract. Think of the Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis deal, and subtract two prospects. Ramirez is too big of a liability in the field and strikes out too much to waste four top prospects on. Chances: 15%


10. Roy Halladay RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

The sources of this one come from all around. At the trade deadline, the rumor going around was that Halladay wanted out of Toronto. Then, he wanted to stay.

Sure, thinking of a reunion of two of the former "Big 3" of Toronto (Halladay, Chris Carpenter, Kelvim Escobar) would be great, but it won't happen. Blue Jays General Manager J.P. Ricchardi is talking to Halladay's agent about a contract extension. Even without the extension, he's one of the top five pitchers in today's game, and will cost a lot to land. Chances: 5%


Well, I hope I have enlightened you on some of the potential trade targets. I hope I'm wrong on some of these (Halladay would be at the top of that list), but we'll see. As the musical band Asia said, "Only time will tell."

How the 2009 offseason goes could show a lot into the new front office's way of thinking. If they spend money, deal prospects, but keep a strong nucleus of young prospects together, they're all about winning now and later. If they waste the system, the 2008 season was a waste and they want to win now and forget later. If they make the same low profile moves as they did last offseason, they're still in the rebuilding mode and are okay with being the punch line of a joke in the NL Central.

We'll see.